Sunday, August 17, 2014

August Updates

August Updates


Western Italian Bees - Apis mellifera ligustica - Honeybees
Western Italian Bees - Apis mellifera ligustica - Honeybees

Bees


The bees are so busy in the mornings, collecting packets of pollen and going in and out.  They are on the outside of the slump block hive throughout the day, washboarding.  I haven't seen any fanning going on for quite some time.  The propolis is getting thicker and darker, making the block look wet all the time.

These bees are odd.  They don't do things reported as 'norm' for bee colonies.  The opening here is pointing north, towards our block fence, so they don't get a lot of sunshine.  The block is hot and retains heat...  The largest portion of block faces south, which gets sunshine all day long.  I don't know how they managed that over the worst part of summer without dying off, but they did.  They also built in an area that is overrun by all sorts of lizards, so they must
DIY Top Frame Cedar Beehive
DIY Top Frame Cedar Beehive
be getting picked off and yet don't acknowledge my presence when snapping shots with flash, even.  These bees have hardly any defensive behaviors.

Eventually, we will have to get them out of the slump block, and are hoping they take up in the beehive we built when the hive splits off, or maybe we will move them.  We really haven't decided yet.  

Lemongrass - Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lemongrass - Cymbopogon flexuosus

Lemongrass


August is the season where lemongrass really takes off.  We divided our lemongrass clumps last year into smaller pots and thought we had surely killed off several of them.  We watered them faithfully, and are happy to say that every single division is producing leaves now.  We have more lemongrass than we know what to do with, and certainly more than we need to rub down the inside of the beehive.

It does smell wonderful when the white ends are crushed.  We need to pick up some recipes that make good use of this plant.

Butterfly Bush
Buddleia x weyeriana 'Bicolor'
Buddleia x weyeriana 'Bicolor'


It wasn't all that long ago we received our mail ordered Bicolor Butterfly Bush.  We wanted to have a plant that bloomed well into fall to help out the bees, and this one isn't letting us down.  The plant has at least doubled in size and has bloomed its first panicle.  The colors aren't yet as vivid most report for this plant.  Maybe the color gets stronger with age.

All Vines, No Fruits

Our gourd, melon and cucumber vines are amazingly green and prolific.  They are profuse with yellow and white flowers, yet we hardly get any fruits.

Following the most recent storm, we don't have any new tracks indicating foragers and can't really identify any particular forager activity.  We're at a loss as to what is getting to everything before we do.
This season is just about over.  We need to start planning our fall and winter cold season crops.